CIA Chief Reveals Cybersecurity Threat Much Worse Than Russia


Russia has dominated the discussion about foreign influence in America over the past year… but there may be a more insidious threat to U.S. cyber security than the former Soviet Union.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo confirmed that the intelligence agency was concerned about Vladimir Putin’s government meddling in the upcoming 2018 election, but he also cautioned that while the media is obsessed with Russian connections, mainland China may actually be more of a concern for American national security.

Foreign governments have always tried to steal valuable information from other nations, but China may actually be one of the most effective countries in that objective, the director told BBC News.

“The Chinese have a much bigger footprint upon which to execute that mission than the Russians do,” Pompeo explained.

“We can watch very focused efforts to steal American information, to infiltrate the United States with spies – with people who are going to work on behalf of the Chinese government against America,” he warned.

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It’s common to imagine spy-versus-spy scenarios playing out in government buildings and military bases, but Director Pompeo revealed that some of the most serious espionage efforts could come in the form of data extraction from unexpected locations.

“We see it in our schools. We see it in our hospitals and medicals systems. We see it throughout corporate America,” he said. “It’s also true in other parts of the world… including Europe and the UK.”

“The Chinese are working dilligently to put themselves in a position where they are a superpower,” the CIA director ellaborated. “And they’re a big country, with an enormous economy… but these efforts, we have to all be more focused on.”

One of the key advantages for Chinese cyber capabilities is the sheer size of the nation and the resources at its command.

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Russia’s population is about half of the United States. However, China has over a billion more citizens than America — and that’s a very large pool to draw talent from in order to accomplish cyber missions.

“We have to do better pushing back against Chinese efforts to covertly influence the world,” Pompeo cautioned.

“We’ve seen Chinese cyber attacks throughout the world, and we’ve also watched them prepare… that is in this dark world of cyber espionage we can see that the Chinese have a tremendous capability,” he continued.

“They’re a very advanced economy and very talented, smart people working working on these problems. So we are mindful of the threats from Chinese cyber capabilities. They are certainly world class.”

It’s never smart to underestimate a potential foe. The days of China being non-competitive are over, and while the country certainly has many internal problems to overcome, it is an increasingly sophisticated nation that undoubtedly has ambitions of expansion and even domination in the global sphere.

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America still leads the world in technology and intelligence gathering, but we need to step up our game, and avoid becoming complacent in a fast-changing world.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.